Titus Livy

Titus Livy

Titus Livius Patavinus (64 or 59 BCAD 12 or 17) – often rendered as Titus Livy, or simply Livy, in English language sources – was a Roman historian. He wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people – Ab Urbe Condita Libri (Books from the Foundation of the City) – covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome before the traditional foundation in 753 BC through the reign of Augustus in Livy's own lifetime. He was on familiar terms with members of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, advising Augustu.s's a grandnephew, the future emperor Claudius, as a young man not long before 14 AD in a letter to take up the writing of history.

Livy was born Titus Livius in Patavium in northern Italy, now modern Padua. There is a debate about the year of Titus Livius' birth- either in 64 BC, or more likely, in 59 BC (see below). At the time of his birth, his home city of Patavium was the second wealthiest on the Italian peninsula and the largest in the province of Cisalpine Gaul. In his works, Livy often expressed his deep affection and pride for Patavium, and the city was well known for its conservative values in morality and politics. "He was by nature a recluse, mild in temperament and averse to violence; the restorative peace of his time gave him the opportunity to turn all his imaginative passion to the legendary and historical past of the country he loved."

Livy’s teenage years were during the 40s BC, when a period of numerous civil wars throughout the Roman world occurred. The governor of Cisalpine Gaul at the time, Asinius Pollio, tried to sway Patavium into supporting Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony), the leader of one of the warring factions. The wealthy citizens of Patavium refused to contribute money and arms to Asinius Pollio, and went into hiding. Pollio then attempted to bribe the slaves of those wealthy citizens to expose the whereabouts of their masters; his bribery did not work, and the citizens instead pledged their allegiance to the Senate. It is therefore likely that the Roman civil wars prevented Livy from pursuing a higher education in Rome or going on a tour of Greece, which was common for adolescent males of the nobility at the time. Many years later, Asinius Pollio derisively commented on Livy's "patavinity", saying that Livy's Latin showed certain "provincialisms" frowned on at Rome. Pollio's dig may have been the result of bad feelings he harboured toward the city of Patavium from his experiences there during the civil wars.



Roman History. The History of Rome from Its Foundation. Book I
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Roman History. The History of Rome from Its Foundation. Book VI
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Roman History. The History of Rome from Its Foundation. Book VII-VIII
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